Five decades ago, Henry Knowles Beecher, a renowned professor of research anesthesiology, sought to solve a problem created by modern medicine. The solution proposed by Beecher and his colleagues on the Ad Hoc Committee of the Harvard Medical School to Examine the Definition of Brain Death proved very influential.1 Indeed, other contemporaneous medical developments magnified its significance yet also made the solution it offered somewhat problematic. As we mark this fiftieth anniversary, at a time when concerns about the conceptual model on which its recommendations rested are being voiced by critics from medicine as well as philosophy, it is worthwhile to view the committee's report in relation to the problem that prompted its existence as well as the one to which it was quickly applied.
Hastings Center Report – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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